Jason Andrews: The world of publishing
Jason Andrews, Director of Profile tells NI Business Now what it takes to run a busy magazine publishing house.
Describe your role?
I’m the Director and founder of Profile – a small but busy business which specialises in magazine publishing, event management and PR. We publish four magazines, two of which are pharmacy trade magazines, Pharmacy in Focus – Northern Ireland’s leading title for the industry and Scottish Pharmacist – providing news, opinions and debate for the Scottish pharmacy profession. We also publish Modern Mum – Ireland’s premier pregnancy and parenting magazine and All About Health – a UK-wide consumer health and lifestyle magazine available through community pharmacies. Additionally, we manage a wide range of events including the Ulster Chemists’ Association’s President’s Ball and Pharmacy in Focus awards which are the industry’s leading awards ceremony recognising the contributions of Northern Ireland’s pharmacy champions. We also manage the Scottish Pharmacist Ball and awards – an annual event which takes place in Edinburgh each year. We’re lucky enough to work on other large scale events in Northern Ireland including the Ulster Grand Prix, Milk Cup and the North West 200. Both myself and my co-director, Maureen Delaney jointly manage the business.
What is the best part of your job?
I really love the buzz, especially at busy periods, for example, this month we have the Ulster Chemists’ Association’s Annual President’s Ball and Pharmacy in Focus awards – over 500 professionals will be in attendance and we organise everything from the awards entries, guest lists, table plans, entertainment, securing sponsors and PR. The event has grown phenomenally since its inception nine years ago and we’re delighted to have the support from so many sponsors including our three key event partners UnitedDrug Sangers, AAH and Phoenix Healthcare. Seeing events like this grow and come together gives me a great buzz as well as being able to employ such wonderful staff and support other local businesses. We have built a business ethos where staff and customers are fundamental to everything we do.
What aspect of your job do you find the most challenging?
Not having enough hours in the day! We’re a small but efficient team who are driven by deadlines which means we are often working under pressure and relying on many things to fall into place in order to meet those agreed deadlines, but it’s all part of the fun and myself and the team really thrive in a pressure driven environment.
What are the key issues facing your sector at the moment?
Securing advertising and sponsorship contracts has never been easy but recent years has been especially challenging but thankfully, we work in niche markets and have a loyal and varied customer base which ranges from local small businesses to global giants. The business has never stood still and we change and evolve when necessary.
What is the biggest goal on your agenda for the year ahead?
2015 will be another busy and exciting year for us – in addition to continuing to publish our four magazines, we’ll be organising the Scottish Pharmacist awards in March, and have other key events on the calendar including the North West 200 in May, the Milk Cup in July and the Ulster Grand Prix in August. We’ll be responsible for publishing the event programmes for these major events as well as managing corporate hospitality and other smaller fringe events. We also have ambitious growth plans for the business in 2015 and hope to expand and develop, particularly in the area of Events and Public Relations.
If you had to give one piece of business advice, what would it be?
Surround yourself with great people with a positive “can do” attitude.
What work experience and qualifications helped you to get to your position?
I left school after A Levels and decided against university. Thrown into the deep end selling advertising on buses gave me a solid grounding and it was certainly a great and challenging continuation of my education and gave me an opportunity to financially support myself at a young age. My background has mostly been sales and marketing and I feel these are best suited to my personality. I still get a buzz from sales and creating new marketing ideas.